Studies show that Mediterranean-style diets are remarkably connected with good health, which is the basis for including this eating pattern in the recently revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Mediterranean eating patterns are associated with longevity and may decrease your risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
The Mediterranean-style diet is reflective of a way of eating that is traditional in countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. The diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas, whole grains, olive oil and fish. Instead of excess salt, Mediterranean-style foods are flavored with herbs. Sweets are enjoyed in small amounts.
Here are simple ideas for eating the Mediterranean way.
Eat seafood twice a week. Tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Shellfish have similar benefits for brain and heart health. When you eat meat, choose smaller amounts.
Enjoy a vegetarian meal one night a week or more. Include beans and legumes, whole grains, and vegetables flavored with herbs and spices.
Choose healthy fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and peanuts.
Pile on vegetables. These are vitally important to Mediterranean-style eating. Start with a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and feta cheese. Enjoy salads, greens, soups and stews, healthful pizzas, and oven roasted veggies.
Switch to whole grains. They taste nuttier and have more fiber. Traditional Mediterranean grains include bulgur, barley, farro, brown rice, and products made with whole-grain flour.
Make fruit your dessert. Enjoy a wide range of delicious fresh fruits and pair with cheese or yogurt.
For years, nutrition experts have touted the benefits of eating plant foods to combat inflammation and chronic diseases.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered the power of plant foods rich in anthocyanins may have in preventing or reducing colorectal cancer cell growth. Anthocyanins are color pigments that include purple, red, and blue hues.
The research included in vitro studies. They found that the anthocyanin extracts induced apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells. Apoptosis is essentially the destruction of cells so they die. Therefore, the growth of colon cancer is inhibited.
Foods rich in anthocyanins include blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, purple corn, red cabbage, red beets, and many more.
Many favorite holiday entrees, sides, and desserts are filled with added fat, sugar, and sodium. There’s good news though, we can do something about it! Focus on the healthy “star” ingredient of each dish and cut out the extras that usually bring on the added unnecessary calories. For example, there is a recipe featured in this newsletter for a fall apple crisp. Compare the nutrition facts with a traditional apple pie and you save 180 calories, 11 fat grams and 18 carbohydrates per serving!
Pumpkin spice. Two words that start to take over this time of year. Everywhere you look there is pumpkin spice flavored everything, but make sure you check out the nutrition facts label before you indulge in your favorite pumpkin flavored treats!
You Asked It! is a monthly newsletter published each month by the K-State Research and Extension Rapid Response Center. News articles are based on questions received, current food safety issues, or information based on the time of year. Topics featured in the July newsletter include: